Raptors' Kawhi Leonard reflects on time with Spurs ahead of return to San Antonio

Raptors star Kawhi Leonard reflected on his time with the Spurs before he takes the court in San Antonio for the first time as a visitor Thursday. 

The 27-year-old forward acknowledged that he wished “at times” things had gone differently before his controversial split with the Spurs, but he indicated his time with the organization was important for his development. 

“It’s a new year, new season. I’m just looking at what is in front of us right now,” Leonard said during the Raptors’ shootaround. 

Leonard, who requested a trade from the Spurs that sent him to Toronto in a deal that, among other pieces, brought the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, said he was unsure how fans would take his return. He said if he is met with boos, it will make him a “better player.”

“I put up blood, sweat and tears wearing that jersey … I put a lot of work (in) here,” he said, via the San Antonio Express-News.

When asked why he wanted out of San Antonio, Leonard said, “I’m not going to discuss that here today.”

Leonard also took the opportunity to thank Spurs fans for supporting him throughout his seven seasons with the franchise. 

Leonard is coming off a season in which a right quadriceps injury limited him to just nine games and left many questioning his commitment to playing. Now healthy, Leonard is averaging 27.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Raptors, 28-11 entering Thursday’s game.